Collaborative Practice: Shared Parental Responsibility for Health Care

Florida family judges must determine parenting matters according to the child’s best interests and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.  There is an exception: modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule requires showing a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.” – Section 61.13(2)(c), Florida Statutes.

Florida parenting plans must designate who will be responsible for “any and all forms of health care.” – Section 61.13(2)(b)3., Florida Statutes states: “If the court orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the parenting plan must provide that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child.” 

But, if the court does not order shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the condition to the requirement the parenting plan provide either parent sharing parental responsibility may alone consent to mental health treatment for their child doesn’t apply.

In a parenting plan, parents may ask the court to find shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to their child and order one parent to have sole parental responsibility over mental health treatment decisions.  But, without impinging on each parent’s retained right to consent to mental health treatment for their child, in the collaborative process, collaborating parents—unwilling to concede shared parental responsibility would be detrimental and give up sole parental responsibility to the other parent—may discuss options to specify parameters and protocols for their child’s mental health treatment. 

How may collaborating parents still share parental responsibility but clarify their intent about mental health treatment for their child?

⇒ Next: Collaborative Process: Clarifying Parents’ Intent About “Mental Health Treatment”

⇐ Previous: Amended Florida Parenting Plan Law Mandates Each Parent’s Retaining Consent to Mental Health Treatment

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